We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
For an estimated 300 hours, Brian Farrell used a hammer, drill and sandpaper pad to scratch swirling lines onto the exterior of his food truck, Basil Thyme. The effect is subtle, but Farrell is quick to connect the dots: “This is to remind people that everything in the truck is made from scratch.”
The plan—as the truck only soft-launched Monday for media and passersby—is for pasta to be made from scratch with a hand-cranking machine every morning, starting at 6 a.m. Because fresh pasta cooks extremely quickly, orders will be boiled à la minute, which compliments the business model. With dried pasta boiling for almost ten minutes, a line would soon turn hostile with waiting. Cooking to-order guarantees less time in the queue and allows for the fresh pasta to shine.
To start, the truck will offer a handful of pastas with an equal number of sauces, although Farrell imagines ditching the creamier sauces during the steamy summer months ahead. (Salads and sandwiches are also available.)
The standout shape is the doughy bowtie (pictured above). Being handmade, the ties vary slightly in size, but are enjoyably larger than the Ken doll-size bowties sold in grocery stores. The accompanying vodka sauce, resulting from a ménage à trois of marinara, cream and quadruple-distilled vodka, provides an addicting sharpness from plenty of parmesan.
“The chocolate could be sweeter,” Farrell points out as he bites into a cannoli, stuffed with house-made ricotta. But that’s not the only thing on the mind of this former I.T. engineer-turned-entrepreneur: “It’s a really scary thing when your whole livelihood is on wheels.”
Photos by Stefanie Gans